World Of Cardboard

by Rainedash

Chapter 1: Opening Doors

Pinkie crept along the hallway in the second floor of Sugarcube Corner, carefully avoiding any of the known creaky floorboards as she drew closer to her prey. The day had passed quickly, and Pinkie saw to it that all the sugary treat needs of the ponies had been filled once again. Now it was her time, and she was choosing to spend some quality time with her family – well, the closest thing she has to family living in Ponyville.

She cracked open the door of the nursery, and there by the crib was Mr. Cake rolling a ball back and forth with Pound Cake. Pumpkin was off the side chewing on a block. Pinkie steadied herself, crouched down, and sprang forward. “Sur-” A green flame sparked, paper smacked her face, and Pinkie tumbled, rolling halfway across the floor. Staring up at the ceiling in a slight daze, she mumbled, “S-Surprise...”

The foals giggled and cooed at her antics, and Mr. Cake asked, “Pinkie, are you alright?”

Not allowing herself to appear frazzled in front of the twins, Pinkie spun herself around, and was back up on her hooves in no time. She saluted. “Don't worry about me, Mr. Cake. Takes more than a little dragonfire and a scroll to keep this mare down. Speaking of scroll...” She turned to the right, turned to the left, and then looked underneath herself. Between her hind legs she spotted the ill-timed scroll laying on the floor being approached by Pumpkin. “Pumpkin, no.” She snatched it away just in the nick of time before the little unicorn could bite it. “Dragonfire could be bad for you!” She stopped and tilted her head to the side for a moment as she thought on the issue some more. “Or is it? Eh, probably best not to take chances. Well, taking chances is good sometimes but you know, not when little foals are involved.”

“Uh, Pinkie?”

She turned back to him. “Yes, Mr. Cake?”

“The scroll.”

“Oh, right! The scroll.” She straightened out the paper, and read to herself: Come to Twilight's castle immediately, but do not do anything to make others worry, or start a panic. This is urgent. “O-oh.” The normal smile adorned Pinkie's face faded into a more serious expression. “Sorry, Mr. Cake. I was going to help with the twins, but I think my friends really need me.”

Mr. Cake smiled. “You don't have to explain it, I've gotten used to you needing to rush out of here in the hurry.”

“You're the best, Mr. Cake. Well, one of the best. At the very least you're better than most. Bye!” Pinkie rolled up the scroll, placed it in her mouth and ran off. A pink blur left Sugarcube Corner and went straight for the gigantic, crystal castle.


Pinkie came sliding to a halt within Twilight's roundtable room. Spike was pacing back and forth in the middle of the room. Rainbow Dash was stretched out across her seat, with her head resting on one arm of the chair and her back legs over the other. Rarity sat upon her seat, her eyes following Spike back and forth.

Pinkie raised her hoof. “Um-”

“I'll explain when everypony is here.” He kept his eyes looking toward the floor, and his arms were crossed with his claws gripping tightly to the opposite arm.

Pinkie stepped closer to him, and lowered herself to his level. “Spikey? Are you okay?”

He shook his head. “J-Just wait for the others.”

“Um, alright.” Pinkie hopped up on her seat and looked over at Rarity, getting a shrug in return. It was unlikely she knew anymore than Pinkie, so she sat still in her seat – still being a relative term in Pinkie's case as she did fidget about, and had to occasionally stop herself from trying to take guesses as to what the trouble could be.

About ten minutes after she arrived, Fluttershy walked into the room. Then, eventually, Applejack arrived. “Sorry for the wait, y'all. I was at the back end of the orchard when I got the message. So, what's going on?”

“We're just waiting for Twilight now,” replied Rarity.

“T-Twilight's not coming,” said Spike. His voice was small, but it grabbed the attention of every pony in the room. “She's the reason we called all of you here.”

“We?” asked Rarity with a raised eyebrow.

“Princess Luna is up in Twilight's room right now. It was her idea to get all of you to come. She has some plan she wants your help with.”

“Uh-huh.” Rainbow Dash knit her brows, and asked, “Spike, when are you going to get what actually happened? What's the deal with Twilight not coming?”

“Guess I should start from the beginning.” All eyes and ears were on Spike as he explained. “Okay, so two days ago I was handling things in Canterlot for Twilight, just running some errands for her. When I get back that afternoon I see Twilight laying in her bed. I figured that she just went to bed early. I mean, that doesn't usually happen with her, but it wasn't that strange. The next morning, she's still sound asleep when I get up. That... that's weird. Twilight doesn't usually sleep in unless she had a long night, but she went to bed early. I tried to wake her and she didn't even make a noise.” He sighed and gave a look of defeat to the floor. “Shaking her, yelling, playing the record player, it was all useless. I got worried and sent a letter to Celestia. Eventually Luna came and, she's spent the last few hours in Twilight's room. She told me to get you guys and... you're caught up now.”

Rarity was the first to respond, quickly going over to Spike and hugging him. “Shh, don't worry. Twilight Sparkle will be back on her hooves in no time. Isn't that right girls?” The rest nodded, and the group headed for the stairs up to Twilight’s room.

“Y-Yeah... I knew I could depend on you girls, and Luna.”

Higher up the castle they went, climbing many sets of stairs and passing seemingly endless doors, until they reached the bedroom of Twilight Sparkle. A spartan room, obviously not designed for spending much time in. A single bed was pushed into the corner, placed just right to keep light from the window away from it. Twilight lay upon the bed on her stomach, dead to the world around her. Her breathing appeared steady, and if they didn't know better they would have believed she was just napping. Luna sat near the foot of the bed, watching over Twilight. Spike and the other girls turned their attention to princess of the night, but Pinkie walked to Twilight's body.

“I am sure Spike filled all of you in on what has happened,” said Princess Luna, and the others murmured in acknowledgment

Pinkie placed her chin and one forehoof on the edge of Twilight's bed. A twitch of Twilight's back leg caught her interest, followed by the movement of the right ear. “Is she dreaming?” asked Pinkie.

“In a manner of speaking, I suppose,” replied Luna. Pinkie heard the heavy hoofsteps of the princess got close until she was right behind her. “From what I can tell, Twilight is stuck in an unconscious state, but her mind is very active. The problem is, as you are aware, it is a dream that appears without end.”

“If'en it's some type of dream, then can't you go in there and get her,” asked Applejack.

Pinkie's eyes stayed glued to Twilight as Luna addressed the others. “Tis not that simple. While this is like a dream, it's not a normal one. Most are wide open for me to enter, but this one seems resistant to me. In a manner of speaking, the front door to her mind is currently locked. Should I forced myself through it may very well lock again behind me, leaving me stranded inside of her.”

“So what, we just sit here and hope she gets better on her own?” asked Rainbow Dash. Pinkie listened as the other argued on the right course of action. Applejack brought up the idea of seeking aid from Zecora, while Fluttershy said Discord could help. Rainbow Dash pushed for them to act quick before whatever it is does any actual harm to Twilight.

Luna stomped, and the thud was followed by silence. “While I do not believe it wise to barge in myself, I did not say that I was without a plan. I can allow for another to enter as I stand watch over the portal, and prevent anything from closing it or interfering in the others attempts at leaving her mind. However, I must warn you all, while the doorway into her mind comes from the dreamscape, what you find inside isn't going to be a mere dream. You will be entering Twilight Sparkle's subconscious mind.”

Rarity was the first speak up. “Would one of us wandering around inside of Twilight cause her harm?”

“I do not believe it will,” responded Luna. “Though it may cause harm to you. While nothing there could harm your physical body, there is the chance of you being overwhelmed by a particularly strong emotion of hers. There is also chance that one of her own inner demons could, for want of a better term, infect your mental projection and then damage your own mind. It would eventually be expelled, but I can assure you it would be a maddening experience, and at worse could leave you in a state similar to Twilight's for some time. Barring anymore questions, I believe I know who among you would be the best candidate for such a task.”

A quiet moment passed before Pinkie turned from Twilight to the others, all stared in her direction. She pointed up to herself and Luna nodded. She cocked her head to the side. “Really?”

“The mental realm is an ever shifting one, and can sometimes defy all logic to everyone but its creator. You may be the best option for a pony who can deal with such a place,” said Luna.

“Right, you can count on me! What do you want me to do?” asked Pinkie.

“Just lay down and try to get comfortable.”

Pinkie lifted herself up onto the bed, and curled up at the bottom corner. “Now w-” Pinkie let out a yawn. “That's weird, I wasn't tired... a second... ago. Heh heh, you guys look all woozy.” Her head hit the bed and she was asleep within seconds.


Pinkie awoke inside of her bedroom with one simple alteration, it was filled with floating confetti, each reflecting different colors in the light. It was akin to a recently shaken snow globe, though one made for a rave rather than Hearth Warming decorating. Her smile widened, and Pinkie leapt into the air, swimming among the sparkles with the greatest of ease. Then came to a sudden stop, as she took a closer look at the room. “That's odd... my room usually doesn't have this much glitter in it. I mean, there was that one time Berry and I got into a drinking contest. Man, I never thought I'd get rid of all of it. Good thing Rarity was running low on shiny stuff to stick on dresses.” She tapped her chin and floated slowly down to the floor. “What do you think Gummy?”

“Hm, I do believe you're imagining things again.” The alligator sat at a small table, sipping on a cup of coffee and looking over a comic book. “Keep it up! Someday you shall be able to kick that ball before she pulls it back.”

“Maybe you're righ-” a thunderous knock came from the door shaking the room, and causing the glitter to all fall to the floor. Pinkie waited for a moment, wondering what could possible do knocks like that. She glanced over to Gummy, but he seemed unfazed by it. He didn't even turn from his comic. “W-Who is it?”

“Tis Princess Luna. Would you please come out here?”

“...oh.” Her mind tried to focus on the simple question of why Princess Luna was visiting her, and memories of earlier floated to the surface of her mind. “This is a dream?”

“Indeed. Now, if you would come out here, I have the portal into Princess Twilight Sparkle's mind ready.”

Pinkie skipped up to the door and turned the knob only for it to fly open the rest of the way, slamming against the wall. Wind and sleet hit her face forcing her to shut her eyes. “P-Princess?”

“Step forward,” came a stern voice.

Pinkie nodded and blindly stepped ahead. She heard the door shut behind her, and started shivering from the chilly air. Before her was a rocky, floating island, and out in the distance was another island with a lone door standing in the middle of it. A rickety rope bridge that appeared to be on the verge of falling apart connected them, swaying in the wind. Thick clouds swirled above the islands, below the islands, and in every other direction.

“As you might imagine, keeping a link between minds stable enough to allow a consciousness through is not easy. Far harder still when one of the minds are not actually in a dream state. I would suggest we make the trip across quickly.” Luna stepped in front of her. “Stay at my side, and do not fall. Understood?”

“Y-yes, Princess.” The pair walked forward taking their first steps onto the bridge. The wooden planks groaned under their weight. Pinkie did her best to ignore them, keeping her eyes straight ahead and trying not to think what would happen if the wind or something else knocked her off into the abyss below. They traveled in silence for awhile, but eventually Pinkie had to break it to assuage her own nerves of nothing else. “Have you seen inside of Twilight's dreams before?”

“Hm... on occasion. Though I rarely find anything unusual or of interest when I check on her during the night. Twilight Sparkle is quite good at keeping her mind guarded, which is another reason I wanted you to be the one to go inside her.” Luna's wing pressed into Pinkie's back, and at her behest they paused their trip. “Pinkie Pie, you may find unflattering things that she thinks of those she knows while inside her. You may see rather intimate details of her life. There could be secrets there that she wished to take to her grave. In truth you never actually know a pony until you've seen their mind, nor would you truly know them until you find out how they see the world. For the sake of her privacy I would ask you not to speak to any others about what you find, at least not without her permission.”

“Don't you worry about a thing, Princess Luna. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye. Unless Twilight herself gives the okay, I won't tell anypony about what's inside her noodle.”

“Considering what I've heard about how seriously you take that ‘Pinkie Promise’ as you call it, I'll take your word for it.” They continued on and reached the end of the bridge. “I shall remain here. Should you require my assistance beyond this point, merely think the words, ‘Luna pull me back.’ I shall return you to this point, though that will mean you shall have to start over again, and deal with any shifts in her mind. Now then I wish you the best of luck, Pinkie Pie. ”

Pinkie kept walking to the door, stopping only once she reached it. “I'll bring Twilight back,” promised Pinkie as she pushed the door open.

Through she went, stepping into familiar territory. The doorway stood right in the middle of the old Golden Oak's Library. It perfectly mirrored Pinkie's own memory of the building with nary a book out of place.. There was a slight oddity that stuck out, one tiny detail that Pinkie certainly did not remember from the old library. The scent of the air inside it had the faint smell of ash, likely put there due to the library's untimely demise in the real world. Pinkie began looking through the books. The library always seemed to have the right book to help us. No; already read this one before; didn't think Twilight had that kind of book; that's useless too. Hm... She walked back and forth in front of the large wall of books. I got it! Her mind might be using trickery! Maybe there's something hidden behind the books! Pinkie reached out, touched the edge of the book, and pul—

Beep beep beep!

The library suddenly went dark, with only a flashing red light to see anything. The siren kept ringing without end.

“Stop!” Pinkie slammed the book back into the place, and the alarm shut off. “W-what the hay was that?” She pulled her hoof from the book. “Fine, I won't remove that one. How about this one?” The exact moment she pulled on the book the alarm sounded again, and she put it right back into place. “Ooooh, I can't touch any book!” She rolled her eyes, and turned towards Twilight's old writing desk. On it lay a pencil and an open scroll. She walked over to it and lifted the paper, hoping something may be written on the other side. The alarm siren went off again, until Pinkie quickly fixed the paper, placing it exactly how she found it. “...really? Can I at least move the pencil?” The siren that went off as she rolled it to the right clearly indicated that no, she wasn't even allowed to move that. “Guess I won't find anything useful here. Not unless I want to go deaf!”

After grumbling about Twilight's need to have everything in the exact right place, Pinkie went out the front door and was greeted with a bright, sunny day in Ponyville. “Huh. I was expecting things different. Like, dark and spooky, or a giant lab.” She kept her eyes peeled for Twilight or anything that didn't seem to fit in Twilight's mind as she left the library behind her and trekked through town. There's Applejack's apple stand... Rose's flower shop... Berry Punch's bar, which is on fire... oh, there's a sale on carrots. Wait. Pinkie stopped in her tracks and backed up. Applejack, Rose, Berry's bar on... Fire! Right down one side roads branching off of the market was Berry Punch's bar, the roof covered in flames. “Eep!”

Pinkie galloped down the street and spotted Berry Punch calmly standing in front of the building, showing no concern for her loss. “Berry, are you okay? Is Ruby Pinch still inside? What happened?”

“Hm?” Berry Punch turned to Pinkie, and in a calm voice asked, “What's wrong?”

“W-what's wrong?” Pinkie pointed both her forehooves at the fire and waved them about. “Fire! Fire bad! Fire is something you should react to!”

“Oh, that?” Berry let out a little laugh. “Relax. Princess Twilight Sparkle will fix it soon.”

“But shouldn't you be at least a little upset? Your bar is burning!”

“You worry too much, Pinkie. Twilight will fix it like she always does, and everything will go back to normal.”

“I... Fine! I won't worry about it then. Can you at least tell me where Twilight is?”

“I haven't seen her today.” Berry shrugged. “Maybe she's in her castle or with her friends. If you see her, tell her to hurry. Oh, and that the school house got stepped on by a hydra. She'll have to fix that, too.”

“Okay. Er, good luck with your burning bar.” Pinkie walked away. That was strange. Between the market and Twilight's castle Pinkie came upon Rarity's boutique. She pushed open the door, and the little bell above it rang. Inside the atrium Rarity had ten mannequins lined up, each with a different dress on them. They also each had a picture of a handsome stallion resting by their base. Pinkie recognized Trenderhoof and Fancy Pants, but she had no clue who the others were.

“No no no, that shade doesn't match his eyes quite right. Oh, drat, I shall simply have to start all over,” said Rarity as she fussed over a dark blue dress on the farthest mannequin. “Maybe I’ll go with a pleated skirt for the redesign. Rather than cobalt, teal would be much better,” she mumbled.


Rarity spun around. “Oh, how wonderful to see you, darling. Come in, come in. Is there something you want, darling? Tea? A new dress?”

“Um, Rarity? What is all this?”

Rarity pursed her lips into the classic duck face. “Why, whatever do you mean, darling?”

“You know what, that's not important. Rarity, it's really, really important that I find Twilight or anything that seems really... uh...” Pinkie's words trailed off as Rarity started admiring one of the pictures.

“Why yes, darling, it is a new dress. How kind of you to notice.” Rarity picked up the picture and kissed it. “My, and you're so bold, darling. Perhaps you and I could discuss things in private.”

This feels like the type of thing Luna warned me about. “Rarity?” Pinkie waved one of her hooves in an attempt to get Rarity's attention. “Rarity?” It failed. Pinkie marched up to her, snatched the picture from her hooves, and pulled Rarity leaving them face to face. “Rarity!”

Rarity raised an eyebrow. “Yes, darling?”

“I really need you to focus right now, and wow, I do not get to be the one to say that often. Oh, um, where is Twilight?”

“Well, darling, how should I know? I haven't seen hide nor hair of her all day. Perhaps you should check her castle rather than interrogating me, darling.”

“Guess I probably should have checked there before asking you.” Pinkie handed Rarity her picture back. “Okay, you can go back to pretending to date random guys again.”


Two hours. According to the clocks inside of Twilight's castle, that’s how long Pinkie was searching for her, though she would say it felt more like five or six. Every room, every container, and under every rug. “Argh!” With her head hung low she slowly made her way back to the front door. On the other side, a mob of ponies cheered, and then quickly stopped when they saw it wasn't Twilight. It was the exact same group that had been standing there when Pinkie first first arrived at the castle. “Okay, I am going to ask you all again just to be sure. Have any of you seen Twilight Sparkle?” One stallion in the back raised his hoof. “Recently?” He lowered it. “That's what I thought. Finding Twilight would be so much easier if I could-” a pegasus' shadow passed over them, and Pinkie looked up to see Rainbow Dash gliding above them, “-fly.” Rainbow Dash landed somewhere in the middle of town, out of view. “Dashie!” Pinkie took off.

She ran back towards the center of town in search of Rainbow Dash, finally finding her in the center of town... lapping up water from the fountain. Please be helpful. “Dashie, I really need your help.”

“Hm?” Rainbow's ears perked up and she turned to Pinkie. “Oh, hey. What's up, Pinkie?”

“A lot of things are up: mind travel, burning buildings, sleeping princesses, everything is up!” Pinkie took a big breath and exhaled. “But it's all okay now because you're here! You can do me a super-duper big favor and-” Pinkie stopped as Dash started to lick one of her front hooves, and made a sound just on the edge of being audible. That can't be. Pinkie angled her ears towards Rainbow Dash to really listen in, and confirmed it. Rainbow Dash was purring. “Aww, that's kinda cute!” Pinkie patted the top of Rainbow's head.

“W-what?! I am not cute.” Rainbow huffed and blushed. “I just had an awesome flight is all. Why wouldn't I purr after that?”

“Because you're a pony.”

“So? It just means I'm even cooler than other ponies since I can do it.”

“...right. Anyway, I need you to help me find Twilight. I want you to-”

“Did you check her castle?”

“Yes, I checked her castle.”

“Did you check the library?”

“Yes, I checked the library.”

“What about the other castle?”

Pinkie rolled her eyes. “Of course I checked the other castle. Really, who wouldn't check the other castle right away.” She looked around her, trying to find another castle. “Um, what other castle?”

“In the Everfree Forest. You know where we took on Nightmare Moon, and where you nearly killed us with those traps. Ringing any bells? If she's not in town, Twilight could have went there.”

“Huh, I didn't even think of that. Good idea, Dashie. Okay, will you fl-what now?” Rainbow was suddenly staring rather intently at something behind Pinkie. She turned to see Rarity walking through the market while holding some bags full of fashion supplies. Pinkie spotted what Rainbow Dash must have been looking at, a piece of string hanging from one back and dragging along the ground. “No!” Pinkie faced Rainbow again. “No no no. Don't do it!” Rainbow lowered her front half, and her butt wiggled in the air. “No, bad kitty! Stay! Sit! Wait, that doesn’t even work on cats.”

“Mrow!” She shot off, and was gone in the blink of an eye.

“My thread!” yelled Rarity in the background.

Nevermind, I'll just walk there!


Pinkie had passed through town and was near the edge of the forest when she spotted something peculiar: a wagon. To be more precise, a large covered wagon with a door in the back of it. It's owner, a blue unicorn, sat near it by a campfire. “Trixie?”

Trixie looked up and waved to Pinkie.

“Wow, I didn't expect to see you here. You haven't by chance seen Twilight?”

Trixie shook her head. “Trixie.”

“Uh, yes. I know you're Trixie. I'm looking for Twilight. She was a lavender unicorn when you first saw her, and then became a princess after we blew her up with the Elements of Harmony. About,” Pinkie held up her hoof, “this tall. Usually has her nose in a book. That's the pony I'm looking for.”

“Trixie!” Trixie's lips tightened as she let out an annoyed snort. “Trixie Trixie Trixie.”

Pinkie donned her best poker face. “...you don't say.”

Trixie's face softened as she added, “Trixie Trixie.”

“Well then, er, thanks. You've been very helpful, Trixie, but I should get going now.” Pinkie took about five steps away when she stopped, and the right corner of her lip twitched upward trying to smile despite her attempts to suppress it. I shouldn't. This is a serious situation, and it would be wrong to waste time. She toyed with the idea for a few seconds before turning back to Trixie. “Hey Trixie, I've got a few more questions for you. What's your favorite color?”


“Thought so. What's five plus five.”


“Ah, I see. Now, you might need to think about this one before answering. Ready? Who is the worst pony?”

Trixie didn't have to put any time into thinking before she answered. With a smug grin she proudly proclaimed that the worst pony was in fact, “Trixie!”

Pinkie clenched her jaw as she held back her laughter. “T-thank you, Trixie. I-I have to go.” She galloped off as the laughter forced itself out.

It died down as she got closer to the treeline. The smell of rotting wood caused her to stop. It brought about the nagging sensation that something was... off, for lack of better term. The feeling only got worse as she took a step forward, and her instincts told her to turn back. Try as she might, Pinkie couldn't see or hear anything wrong. For a moment she considered just going back to town, but quickly pushed that idea aside. Twilight wasn't in town. If she's in the forest somewhere, I've got to find her.

With relative ease Pinkie found their usual path to the castle. With every step she took the forest grew darker, as only a little rays of light managed to pierce through the gnarled branches and leaves above her. The stagnant air hung heavily in the murky forest. The fur on the back of her neck stood on end as the air felt charged with energy, almost as if it too was expecting something, anything to happen. It's just a quick trip, nothing to be afraid of. I've walked down this path before... even if it does look a bit different now.

Step... step... step... snap!

Pinkie froze, every muscle in her body tensing up. She checked under each of her hooves, and there were no broken remnants of a twig. I'm sure Twilight just has a bunch of little animals running around in the Everfree Forest of her mind. Nothing to be worried about. In fact, I'm going to look back and there will be nothing following me. Pinkie looked behind her. See, nothing. Except for that big black puddle of goo over there. Guess I didn't notice walking through that. She checked her hooves again just to be sure, but none of them were covered in a black goo. So I didn't walk through it, meaning it just appeared there out of nowhere. Still, nothing to be scared of. Oh... and there's something coming out of it.

A bump rose up near the edge closest to Pinkie, and took the shape of a pony's head, similar to that of an alicorn. A jagged horn jutted forward from its forehead, and its eyes opened to reveal green, draconic pupils. A green, glowing mist poured out from the top of its head forming an ethereal mane. Two hole filled legs erupted from the goo with green armored boots on the end of them. It pulled itself from the muck, and showed its full body. Upon its back stood two large, feathery wings, and the tail was the same as its mane. The creature opened its mouth in a great big, fang filled smile. “Welcome to my home, little one.” Her words – and she did sound female – dripped with malice.

Okay, now it's time to be scared. Pinkie's mind screamed that this was the source, what made her feel ill at ease before. Pinkie's shaky legs took a step back, almost stumbling in the process. The creature's mere presence seemed to forcefully drag the feeling of fear to the forefront. Caught in its gaze, Pinkie was frozen on the spot, so she did the only thing she could think of. “Y-you, um...” Pinkie's voice trembled. “You wouldn't happen to know a purple alicorn named Twilight Sparkle, would you?”

The creature snickered as her eyes lazily looked around. “Twilight... Twilight... Twilight... Yes, I know of her, and I love her so.” Her lips settled into a relaxed smile that may have been comforting on anyone but her. Rather, on her it appeared predatory. “Her fear is divine, a true delicacy. Oh sure, the yellow one has more of it, sure, but that's mere junk food in comparison. Fear of others, fear of shadows, fear of mere obstacles... alright snacks, but they simply pale in comparison to the fear Twilight brings up. Fear of the world around will never beat fear from within. But...”

The creature's eyes locked on Pinkie once more, and within that one moment she felt like a foal caught by the boogieman.

“But I've always wondered about your fear. I know from Twilight Sparkle that you have such odd reactions. Little things will cause the great panic within you, and yet you merely laugh off things that keep other ponies up at night. I want a taste of what lies within you.” The creature took a single step towards Pinkie, breaking the tension just enough for Pinkie to properly react. Without a second thought she ran as fast as she could.

The pathway twisted and turned as Pinkie ran through the sea of trees. When she realized there didn't seem to be any sounds from behind her Pinkie looked back, only for her hoof to hit a root in that instant. The pink ball of fluff tumbled to the ground, but she quickly righted herself. W-where is she?

A voice came from above, “All you need to do is let me in.” Pinkie's eyes turned upward, and there was the creature laying across a thick branch.

Her hooves kicked up dirt as Pinkie ran off again. Pushing herself as fast as her legs would take her, but she continued to feel the creature's presence. Any time she dared to look at any direction but ahead, Pinkie would see her. After going around a bend in the pathway she suddenly skidded to the halt.

Just up ahead, under the shadows of the trees sat Rainbow Dash wearing a Wonderbolt uniform. “This is one of your biggest fears, is it not?” said Rainbow, though it was the creature's voice coming out of her mouth. “Your precious Dashie will go off to be the big star. Sure, she'll say that she'll make time for her friends, but her fans will always lure her back away from you. But hey, if you're lucky she just might actually write you once or twice a year. You'll at least get a postcard for Hearth's Warming. That's something, right?”

“No! Rainbow Dash would never abandon her friends. She... she...” Pinkie's momentary defiance wilted; her ears drooped down as she turned her eye away from the imposter. “She would never abandon me.”

“How many friends do you have? Not ponies that you just have small talk with, but actual friends that you trust, and who put their trust in you? You can't stand the thought of even losing one.” She stepped closer to Pinkie. “But if you let me in, I'll be your friend. I'll stick with you forever.”

Pinkie shook her head. “Y-you aren't my friend, and I know they won't leave me!” With nowhere else to turn, Pinkie left the pathway, running deeper into the forest. It should be right around here! It's not that far away. After a moment she found a break in the trees as she reached ravine, across from it stood Celestia and Luna's old castle. She ran along the edge, occasionally peering down at the river below. She caught a second break as the rope bridge across wasn't too far away.

Pinkie took one more look back to the forest before starting across. At the halfway mark she heard the creature call out from behind her. “Your friend isn't there.”

Pinkie looked back, and the creature was once again in her original form. “Why should I trust you? You're just a meanie who wants to get in me!”

“You're right, you shouldn't trust me.” The creature held up one of her hooves as it flattened out, and gained an edge. “You really shouldn't.”

“...uh oh,” was all Pinkie could get out before the creature sliced through the ropes holding up the bridge. The wood beneath her gave way, and Pinkie flailed her hooves until she hit the water with her a loud smack. Her brain rattled, and her body went limp.

Vacant eyes stared up at a surface growing ever more distant.

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